Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tugasan 2 Journal Review (Final episode)

The comparison in terms of samples, settings, procedures of action research, data gathering and analysis has been done on the three journals regarding action research:
1. Pupils as action researchers: improving something important in our lives (Branko Bognar and Marica Zovko, 2008)
2. Using Observational Data to Provide Performance Feedback to Teachers: A High School Case Study (Geoff Colvin et al., 2009)
3. Love and critique in guiding student teachers (Sigrid Gjotterud, 2009).

As comparison, samples being used in Branko and Marica’s action research are a group of 10-year-old students who manage to carry out their own action research with close monitor by Marica. Samples in Geoff’s research are a male teacher who is having problem to gain classroom attention during his Science period and that particular classroom. Whereas for Sigrid’s research, 3 students and in fact, Sigrid himself, have been taken as samples.

In Branko and Marica’s action research, it has no particular settings being implied. In fact, the student action researchers, as participants, are free to choose the setting all by themselves. By the guidance of Marica, the student action researchers plan their own interested field to be improved, making the action research an interesting activity to them, as they can choose to involve their classmates or even family members into their action research. The setting is all depending on the place and targeted group they have selected and their targeted activities to be improved.

The same goes to Sigrid’s action research, where no proper setting of action research has been clearly mentioned. This action research has been carried out through online meeting and/or face-to-face interview to determine the notion of love and criticism in guiding student teachers, thereafter to make improvement on guiding actions of teacher educators.

As for Geoff’s action research, the entire classroom setting of action research has been clearly explained. It involved a science teacher with one of his classroom as participants. All the variables being measured, measuring scheme and recording sheet have been well displayed in the journal. As such, it can measure all the interested variables with high validity and reliability.

Action Research Procedures:
In Branko and Marica’s action research, the procedures involved are:
1. familiarized student action researchers with the process of data-gathering
2. defining own values and shared values (things/fields/actions that need improvement)
3. conducting activities planned
4. meeting and findings sharing
5. selecting better suggestions of improvement by others for implementing
6. self-evaluation and reflection
7. making report and presenting their project to others for validation

In Geoff’s action research, the procedures involved are:
First round of observation:
1. identifying problem
2. gathering data
3. reviewing and analyzing data
4. developing action strategies by modifying instructional practices

Second round of observation:
5. implying strategies
6. gathering data
7. conducting feedback
8. modifying instruction practices

Third round of observation:
9. implying improved strategies
10. gathering data
11. examining and discussing data

Whereas in Sigrid’s action research, the procedures are:
1. identifying problem
2. planning action
3. applying action
4. conducting reflection
5. documenting outcomes/findings

All the three action research procedures share a same characteristic, which is, the procedures are to be repeated in sequence forming a complete cycle, till the satisfactory outcomes are being obtained, there and then only, will the process being aborted.

Data gathering and analyzing:
In the action research of Branko Bognar and Marica Zovko, data gathering is done by qualitative method, which involved collecting peers’ or family members’ opinions, depend on the topic of action research being carried out by the student action researchers. No particular data analyzing method shown in this journal. This is probably caused by the small amount of data is being gathered therefore no complicated or particular data analyzing method is needed. Student action researchers modify and improve their action by referring to each opinion gathered.

The same goes to Sigrid’s action research as well. Qualitative data gathering method is used, no specific data analyzing method is shown. Data is gathered by interviewing samples and the changes in samples’ attitude through modified guiding actions are being observed at the later stage.

As for Geoff’s action research, all data is being gathered through quantitative method. A detailed cover sheet with all the variables to be measured is designed for the usage of marking done during each observation. The data is being analyzed using descriptive statistics, where the percentage of each tested variable is being calculated and graph is being generated.
To compare these 3 journals as a whole, I personally feel that the action research done by Geoff is a good reference for juniors like me. That is because the whole process of action research done by Geoff has included all the basic important topics that should be covered in a complete set of action research. His journals clearly stated the participants of this action research, the classroom setting, the procedures and the outcomes of result generated through data gathered. All these are similar to the content in Participatory Action Research for Educational Leadership (which I read through for my Tugasan 1), where the main process of action research is all about Diagnose, Act, Measure and Reflect.

On the other hand, I can’t deny that action research done by Branko and Marica is indeed an interesting one. As it involves the students themselves in the entire process of action research. The students have full freedom to select whatever field/thing/action to be improved, in order to make better lifestyle. By implying such kind of student-centered activities in classroom teaching and learning process, the classroom environment would be an interesting learning centre to the students. As the students are fully engaged in the research, they have the opportunities to learn about the whole process of action research in early age. As such, if this effort can be carried on to future, the students can have sufficient time and opportunities to improve themselves in action research, and therefore, able to build up professional action researchers. To build up interest on action research in our students is indeed a tough task, but not impossible, as seen in Branko and Marica’s research. The importance of building up interest on action research in our students should be seen from the perspective of life. Because learning is a life-long process, and action research is all about life itself (Branko B. and Marica Z., 2008). We seek improvement in our daily life experience, our relationship with others, our basic needs and so on. Thus these improvements for better living can be done efficiently if we were well equipped with action research knowledge. Anyway, if I were to give suggestion for the improvement of this journal, I feel that it would be better if the ways data being gathered and being analyzed can be monitored well and being presented in this journal.

The action research done by Sigrid is another interesting topic which involved the notion of love and criticism in guiding student teachers. But each person has different kind of characteristic and behavior. So, I doubt if the outcomes of this research can be applied to all our students. Perhaps the responsibilities on guiding students by either love or criticism fall on he students’ teacher. In this case, teacher plays the most important role to explore the characteristic of each student, thereafter to decide on whether the notion of love or criticism should be used in guiding, and that subjected to case by case basis as well. Again, in his research, I feel that the ways data being gathered and analyzed are insufficient to provide me clear picture on exactly how that were done. Perhaps more samples should be taken so that the data gathered are as a norm and thus increase the reliability.
That are all my points of view after reading through the three journals mentioned. Anyone has different opinion, feel free to comment here. There is always room for discussion.

Branko, B. and Marica, Z. 2008. Pupils as action researchers: improving something important in our lives. Educational Journal of Living Theories 1(1): 1-49.

Geoff, C., George, S., James, M. & K. Brigid, F. 2009. Using observational data to provide performance feedback to teachers: A high school case study. Preventing School Failure 53(2): 95-104.

Sigrid, G. 2009. Love and critique in guiding student teachers. Educational Journal of Living Theories 2(1): 68-95.
Alan, B., E. Alana, J. & Margaret, T. M. (2008). Participatory action research for educational leadership. California, United States of America: Sage Publications.

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